In my castle on a cloud there are roses round the door ...
I think it's very important that we all have dreams to aspire to, and aims to move towards, but sometimes I'm guilty of not enjoying the moment I'm in, but instead looking forward to something in the future ... or living in the past and dwelling on things that should be long-forgotten.... and worse still, worrying about things that may never happen ...
When my children were little, it seemed that everyone else was urging them towards the next target ... weaning, first tooth, sitting up, crawling, walking, etc, etc ... looking back with hindsight, I feel a lot of pressure is put on us as Mums to have our children performing as is the 'norm'. I wish I'd enjoyed each moment when it happened, instead of hurtling towards the next milestone ... before you know it, they are grown up ...
Sorry for rambling, but what I think I'm trying to say, is that I don't want to conform any more! Don't panic, I'm not going to start breaking the law or anything drastic like that, I just want to live a much simpler life. I'm very lucky that I work from home and know that this isn't an option for everyone.
I love being at home, I've never been the career woman, even though I had a good job as a personal secretary (probably a PA nowadays!) before I had my children, but it seems that it's something we have to apologise for, not going out into the world to make a buck to enable us to buy all the material possessions, that because of the hours worked, there is no time to enjoy them. I'm rambling a bit aren't I?
My husband has a good job that enables us to get by ... and I earn money as a child minder which covers extras and my stock for vintage fairs ... we grow our own vegetables, keep chickens, furnish our home from second-hand warehouses, cook from scratch and a Chinese take-away is a rare treat. We no longer have family holidays abroad, (there have only been 3 in the whole of our married life, and we had to scrimp and save so much for them, they hardly seemed worth it!) as we are going through the 'uni years' ... and with 4 children, this is expensive. This is our choice, and we are lucky to be able to do this ... it's not for everyone, and I'm not trying to push my lifestyle onto anyone else.
We don't waste anything. Food left on plates goes in the dog ... other kitchen scraps go in the chickens or compost bin. Leftover food is made into something else and if we renew anything, the old item is recycled. Some people would view this as tight ... I know differently ... How can we justify throwing away last weeks food, just to overfill our fridges and cupboards with food that will be thrown away next week, when there are starving children, not only in the world, but also in our own home towns, where food banks are springing up regularly?
Just up the road from me a new Tesco has arrived. Oh the excitement! I'm not going to be so hypocritical to say that I won't ever darken its doors,because I will, but even more small, local businesses are going to suffer or even worse, close down. When I was first married, I could shop at a butchers, bakers, greengrocers, hardware shop, post office, chemist, florists, woolshop and more ... mostly these have gone, but I would far prefer this way of shopping than pushing a wonky trolley around a soulless supermarket.
What I'm trying to say is, I'm happy with what I've got, a lovely family, good health, roof over our heads and food in the cupboards. I don't hanker after the latest car or tv, I have my dreams, and if they come true that's fantastic, but if they don't, well that's ok too.
I don't want to come across as smug, and there are lots of people who will recoil in horror at my way of life, but it's my life and I like it! I also know that there are people who will think I'm extremely lucky and I do try to count my blessings every day.
What do you think? Would you like to opt out of the rat race on a small scale like me, or move it up a notch and be completely self-sufficient, or would that be your idea of a nightmare? Lets have a bit of a debate to get the cogs whirring ...
Have a lovely week,
Love, Claire xxx
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
I woke up bright and early today, the sun was shining, the frost was glistening in the sunlight, and I knew it was going to be one of those days that make you feel glad to be alive. As a childminder, I'm lucky to work from home, and this morning we walked to school with Ruby, and everybody we saw just seemed happier and more lively than usual.
Even though spring is not officially here for another month, the sunny weather seems to bring out the best in everyone. Freezing conditions are forecast so we'd better make the most of it!
Come on in, the kettle's always on!
Signs of life are springing up everywhere in the garden ...
and the flowers are turning their faces to the sun, after their long, cold hibernation.
Another thing that makes me really happy, is being able to hang my washing out in the garden ... I love the smell of fresh, clean line-dried bedding ... no scented fabric conditioner can match that!
Sorry, these pictures are a bit dark, the sun comes round to my back garden a bit later in the day!
I'd just like to show you this little vintage peg bag I found in a charity shop for 50p ... complete with old, worn wooden pegs! I absolutely love it, and wonder who made it with love, and did they use the old curtains that were a bit worse for wear, or buy a piece of fabric specially for the purpose? I think it was probably the first, as it probably originates from the 'make do and mend' era ... if anyone recognises the fabric I'd be interested in knowing about it ...
(Not the Primarni towel behind .. I know all about that!)
This little owl came to live at our house this week, by very kind courtesy of Gilly. She had blogged about some other owls that she had made, and I admired them and asked if they were for sale, as my Millie loves owls. Lovely Gilly replied by email, insisting that she make me one as a present for my upcoming birthday! Thank you so much Gilly, once again I am swept away by the kindness of fellow bloggers.
I'm going to do my chores now, as I'm not at work until after school, then I'm going to get my crochet bag out (another 50p find) and carry on with the flowers I'm currently addicted to making, from this months Mollie Makes.
As the sun's shining, I think I'll have a little potter in the garden, and see if I can salvage anything from the destruction that my feathered friends have wreaked upon it!
Recently I've been nominated for some awards. The most recent one was from Ali for the Super Sweet Bloggin Award, and earlier this year I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Gillian and Hazel. I'm always very flattered to receive nominations as I can't quite believe that anyone actually reads my ramblings, never mind award me for them, and I always have very good intentions to follow them up like a good blogger should ... but in reality, I'm sorry, I haven't organised myself yet, and I'm always worried in case I upset anyone by leaving them out, when they've been nice to me. I really need to get a grip, but once again, thank you!
Have a lovely week, and I hope the sun shines for you!
Love Claire xxx
Thursday, 14 February 2013
Each to his own, but Steve and I don't really subscribe to the over-commercialised lovey-doveyness of Valentine's Day, but prefer to keep it a bit more simple ...
Steve gave me 2 great big bunches of my favourite flowers, daffodils and tulips, so these are dotted all around the house ...
I bought Steve some of his favourite Sumatran coffee, the smell of it filled my car with its deep, rich, heady aroma ... I couldn't take a photo of it, as he'd taken it to work before I got the chance.
Although we're not overly romantic ... love is all around! Have I ever told you that I have a fondness for hearts? I'm sure you'd never guess ...
Sweet little tea light holders on my bookshelves ...
even the windows don't escape a bit of heartiness!
Tiny heart on EB cup and saucer ...
The 'heart' theme must run in the family! Millie's delicious ginger biscuits ... Millie's Cookies!
Little tin sign ... phrase from one my children's many favourite books 'Guess how much I love you' ...
Faded wooden heart by my lovely Mam's picture ...
Vintage wooden blocks ... fabulous charity shop find ... a phrase to fit every occasion!
My all time favourite thrifty find - my hearts-and-roses adorned Sadler teapot - £2 ... yes, really!
Betty, the Doorstop Cat ... complete with felt heart ... a birthday present from my children many years ago ... xx
And back to earth with a bump, enough of the hearts and flowers!
Me and Annie Sloan have been busy lately ...
Little plant stand very kindly given to me by Maria, needed a little cheering up ...
Sorry about the odd angle, I took this sitting on the stairs!
A very filthy, bug encrusted cupboard, with the front missing ... this photo is taken after I'd cleaned it, and hoovered the drawer out ... believe me, it would have put you off your Valentine's breakfast in bed!
A touch of AS Antoinette, a piece of chicken wire and some Cath Kidston check fabric I had lying around ... Oops! more hearts! ...
Nearly finished, this has gone on a bit! My first attempt at anything other than a square, crochet-wise ... I think it may be lacking something on the front ... a heart, perhaps?
Thank you for joining in with the book pass-around last time ... The Fine Colour of Rust is, as we speak, winging its way to Canada, where Wendy at September Violets eagerly awaits its arrival.
On 17th February I celebrate my first blogiversary and without being over-sentimental can I just say that the wording on the card says it all!
Have a fabulous Valentine's Day, whether you partake or not, I'd love to hear all about it ...
Lots of Love,
Monday, 4 February 2013
Hello my lovelies! It seems a long time since I was here, it's only been 2 weeks, but I didn't really feel I had anything interesting to say, so I didn't ...
Have just had a lovely weekend because Jacob came home (he didn't make it last weekend, due to the bad weather in Leeds, and he was worried about getting back for work) and we had our Christmas dinner in February yesterday. It felt really hard saying goodbye at the station this morning, because for the first time really, I've realised that he's never coming home to live again. On visits, yes, but not actually to live here. I'm glad he's got the confidence to live away from home, but it doesn't make it easier for us mothers when our chicks fly the nest. He seemed very grown-up and mature all of a sudden ... and brought me flowers!
Last weekend, to cheer ourselves up (!) because Jacob wasn't coming home, me an Millie went to see Les Miserables at the cinema. If you haven't seen it, I can thoroughly recommend it. I bawled all the way through, much to Millie's horror!
I've broken my 'no spend' rule and received a couple of parcels recently ...
a little tin picture, that I thought would look lovely in my imaginary caravan/camper van (one day, one day ...)
a nice new doormat as my old one is looking a bit threadbare ...
a metal verdigris heart (not that I actually need any more hearts, but there you go!)
and a pretty parcel from the lovely Miss CK ...
this actually contains my birthday present, but I'll give you a sneaky little peek ...
I somehow don't think I can restrain from wearing it until the beginning of March!
I've had a few nice thrifty finds - a pretty glass bonbon dish, some lovely silver-plated dessert spoons and cake forks, and a handy glass jelly mould ... these look good planted up with spring bulbs!
On the upcycling front, my dear friend Shazza told me she'd like a dresser, and did I think I could find one for her? The very next day I found one ... a lovely little Dutch dresser, just crying out to be prettified!
This is the top of it, before we got cracking with the Annie Sloan!
Before I go, I have a little Giveaway for you ... a pre-loved book which came to me via Annie @ knitsofacto called The Fine Colour of Rust.
It's a feel-good, easy read and if you'd like to read it, just let me know and I'll drop your name in a hat and pick one out next Monday 11 February. All you have to do once you've read it, is advertise it on your blog as a giveaway, fill in the card inside with your name and then send it on. It's been all over the place so far!
Talking of good reads, I'm really enjoying Birdsong at the moment ... the tv series was very popular last year, but the book is much, much better ... unputdownable in fact!
I'd like to take this opportunity to say hello to all my lovely new followers ... you're always welcome here!
It's a hard life ..
Have a wonderful week, and see you soon!
Love, Claire xxx